Which version of the bible do you prefer

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Christian

My preference among the scores of translations and paraphrases of the Word of God is the King James Version, or one of it’s derivatives. For the most part we can completely rely in that fact that when we open a copy of the King James Version, what we read within the covers of that translation of the bible is accurate. Why do I say for the most part? I say it because it seems all translations have errors. What about the King James Version then? Lets take a look.

Joe Focht, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Philadelphia, PA, in his lesson on the Accuracy of the Scriptures for the Koinonia Institute, spoke about the King James Version of the bible (Which I am going to refer to as the KJV). He said that the KJV is based on more than 5500 manuscripts with a major reliance on the Textus Receptus as well as the Hebrew Vorlage, the Latin Vulgate and the Masoretic Text plus many other old comparative manuscripts. Over 50 scholars were commissioned to create the translation which is based on a literal equivalency of the old manuscripts. Literal equivalency is where scholars translate word for word between languages as best that they can and they always defer to the meaning of the original language of the manuscript. Even though there were English translations before this time, the KJV was first widely available copy of the Holy Word available to the public because of the recent invention of the printing press. The extreme that these scholars prayerfully attacked their work to bring as accurate a translation as they could make, deferring to the nuances and meanings of the original languages of the manuscripts, gives us access to not only a faithful copy of the original scrolls and codices, but it gives us insights into the human writers of the bible, for we can render an understanding of them as people by inspecting their individual writing styles as we read the text.

Other translations such as the New International Version (I am going to refer to it as the NIV) however, were translated with a different agenda in mind. Even though the NIV was translated from some of the same texts as the KJV were1, the NIV was translated using what is referred to as dynamic equivalency. Dynamic equivalency means that men look at the original language and defer to the modern language and try to interpret what it means to us.

To defer to Joe Focht again he gave an example of the textual and interpretive difference between the changes in the NIV from the KJV:

3600 changes in the text

2000 singular to plural removes personal responsibility

1600 gender changes.

Wow, that’s a lot of changes and potentially a lot of dangerously incorrect ideas and assumptions that can be made by using the NIV as the sole access to the scriptures. Browsing the internet on the subject brought forth several websites dedicated to the dangers of the NIV translation of the bible.2 I sometime use quotes from the NIV and other translation when I look up scriptures in the Blue Letter Bible online for clarity, but I always compare it to the KJV for accuracy of context.

There even more modern translations that are much worse and they demonstrate a growing trend toward ‘feel good’ Christianity where personal responsibility and the lack of acceptability of our modern way of life is too harsh and unforgiving, therefore they are softening the word and making God a soft, cuddly teddy bear of a creator that accepts everything and everyone. It just getting insane, folks. But for those of us that still believe in that cruel, uncompromising truth called The Word of God, there is still the KJV and it’s derivatives to rely upon. The KJV has been around for so long and has been scrutinized by so many scholars that even though there are errors in the KJV translation. Those errors are well known and most of our copies we have in our hands record those slight errors as sidebars that can easily be researched and checked out. For, me, I believe the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is still the KJV.

All translations and versions will have disadvantages. What are the disadvantages of the KJV? Except for the textual errors which are very well known and noted. I believe the biggest disadvantage to the KJV is the Middle English verbiage of thee and thou and heareth, etc. which is probably the biggest reason there have been all these other translations popping up to make it more ‘language friendly’ with results ranging from stupidly absurd to dangerous to OK (such as the New King James Version). We all need to keep in mind what The Lord thoughts were when mankind starts meddling around with His Holy Word in some of these translation that are being bandied about.

Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book. (KJV)

God Bless, Jim


1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_International_Version

2 here is one person’s example of errors within the NIV: http://www.wordsoftruth.net/NIV2002.htm

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